D1-29 by Mark Kolanowski
Via Flickr:
Spaceship Earth as seen from Epcot’s World Showcase in the last moments of daylight.


8-inch Naval Guns on Oahu

In 1942, the US Navy planned to replace the 8″/55 main batteries of the aircraft carriers USS Lexington (CV-2) and USS Saratoga (CV-3) with 5″/38 dual-purpose twin-gun mounts, which could be used in an anti-aircraft role. The Hawaiian Department, US Army, was interested in using the gun mounts as coastal artillery.

By 26 January 1942, all of Saratoga’s four 8″/55 mounts were removed from the vessel and presented to the Hawaiian Department. Whether the mounts were removed at Pearl Harbor or the Puget Sound Navy Yard remains unknown.

Lexington’s four gun mounts were removed from the ship at Pearl Harbor on 30 March 1942, and was presented to the Hawaiian Department four days later. Before 5″/38 mounts could be installed, Lexington was sunk during the Battle of the Coral Sea on 8 May 1942.

Due to time constraints the turrets were not dismantled and were turned over to the Army in their original form, together with spare parts and other materials. This was the first time naval turret mounts had been used as coastal artillery for the US. Battery Arizona would be another case, even though the battery was never completed.

Gun mounts removed from USS Lexington formed the Opaeula and Wilridge batteries, and those from USS Saratoga formed the Brodie and Salt Lake batteries.

Here are some statistics of the 8″/55 Mk 9 naval gun:

  • Weight: 30 tons
  • Length, overall: 449 inches
  • Projectile weight: 260 lbs AP, Mk 20
  • Propellant charge: 90 lbs NC
  • Muzzle velocity: 2,800 f/s
  • Maximum range: 31,860 yds, at 41°
  • Elevation: +41°/-5°
  • Loading angle: 5°
  • Rate of fire: 3-4 rounds per minute
  • Recoil: 29.65 inches
  • Approximate barrel life: 715 rounds
  • Elevating rate: 6° per second
  • Train rate: 3.5° per second
  • Twin mount weight: 187 tons

Some time later the batteries were renamed Battery Louis R. Burgess (ex-Salt Lake), Battery Ricker (ex-Brodie), Battery Riggs (ex-Opaeula) and Battery Kirkpatrick (ex-Wilridge).

The batteries were eventually demolished, with some parts remaining. An underground storage tank, BCS(Battery Commander’s Station)/radar operating rooms and some other parts of the batteries remain today.


Bennett, John D. Oahu’s 8-inch Naval Turret Batteries 1942-1949. The Coastal Defense Journal, 22(1).

Toll, Ian W. Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942.